Carter v. Jury Commission
United States Supreme Court
396 U.S. 320 (1970)
Negro citizens of Greene County, Alabama (plaintiffs) brought a class-action suit against the state jury commission and other officials responsible for the administration of the state jury-selection laws (defendants). The plaintiffs alleged that qualified Negroes were never selected for jury duty and that the defendants were engaging in the systematic discriminatory exclusion of Negroes from juries. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, including enjoinment of the enforcement of the challenged jury-selection statute. The state jury-selection laws required the governor to appoint a three-member jury commission. The commission employed a clerk, who was responsible for providing a jury roll of every eligible juror between 21 to 65 years of age and known to be of good character and sound judgment. In compiling the rolls, the clerk was required to scan voter lists, tax lists, and telephone directories and to visit each precinct at least once a year. The district court held an evidentiary hearing and concluded that the jury-selection process did not satisfy the statutory requirements. Those who were responsible for preparing the list and administering the system were white and had limited contact with the Negro community, yet failed to employ any meaningful procedure to obtain the names of qualified Negroes. Although Negroes accounted for 75 percent of the county’s population according to the 1960 census, from 1961 to 1963 the largest number of Negroes on the jury rolls was 7 percent of the total number of jurors. The situation had improved only marginally after another federal court entered a declaratory judgment in 1964 ordering compliance with the statute. The district court concluded that Negroes were being excluded from jury duty on a racially discriminatory basis, and enjoined the defendants from further discrimination. The district court ordered an updated jury roll within 60 days. The district court did not, however, enjoin the enforcement of the challenged state statute. The plaintiffs appealed directly to the United States Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 175,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.